October 14th, 2010
10:04 PM ET

Several miners released from Chilean hospital

Several of the 33 miners who were rescued this week from the San Jose mine in Chile were released from Chile's Copiapo Regional Hospital on Thursday night.

CNN Chile showed footage of at least two miners being taken away from the hospital in cars. The hospital did not release any information about how many miners and which ones left the hospital Thursday night.

The miners were trapped about 2,300 feet below the surface for more than two months after a collapse of the mine on August 5. A small stash of food and liquid kept the 33 alive in a refuge for the 17 days that rescuers took to establish contact, after which more supplies were sent down. After a rescue shaft was drilled, a capsule lifted the miners to safety, one-by-one, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Filed under: Chile • Chile miners trapped
October 14th, 2010
09:34 PM ET

Virginia's 'jobs creation officer' boasts progress

When Bob McDonnell was sworn in as governor of Virginia in January, the Republican promised to focus on jobs, and he quickly named Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling the state's "chief jobs creation officer."

Eight months later, Virginia's 7 percent unemployment rate is well below the national average of 9.6 percent, and the state boasts that it has added more than 71,500 jobs since the start of the year.

"What we've tried to do in Virginia is make sure that we have the most business-friendly environment in the country," Bolling said.

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Filed under: Jobs • Virginia
October 14th, 2010
09:20 PM ET

Fort Hood hearing: Victim describes shot to the head

The Army psychiatrist accused in last year's Fort Hood, Texas, shootings faced off with the most severely injured survivor Thursday in a small military courtroom.

Maj. Nidal Hasan looked down as Staff Sgt. Patrick Zeigler described his four bullet wounds and how part of his brain had to be removed because of skull and bullet fragments.

Zeigler, using a cane, walked slowly to the witness stand at Fort Hood for the last testimony of the day in an evidentiary hearing, which is expected to last for weeks. Hasan is accused of being the gunman in the November 5 shootings that left 13 people dead and dozens wounded.

Zeigler testified he heard the gunman shout out "Allahu Akbar" just before the firing began.

"After I heard that, I pretty much froze up because I knew what that meant," said Zeigler about the phrase, which is Arabic for "God is great."

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Filed under: Fort Hood shooting • Military • Terrorism • Texas
October 14th, 2010
07:45 PM ET

Ole Miss goes with a bear; Georgia has another Uga

He is no Admiral Ackbar, but Rebel Black Bear will do for the University of Mississippi.

Mascot changes can be a serious business in college sports. Viewers of ESPN got a taste of this earlier this year, when the sports network ran a spot about some University of Mississippi students who were trying to nominate "Star Wars" character Admiral Ackbar to represent Ole Miss' teams.

Ackbar backers will be distressed to know their guy didn't make it. On Thursday, the Ole Miss Rebels announced they are going with a bear.

That's Rebel Black Bear, to be exact. He succeeds Colonel Reb, whose goatee and garb conjured images of the Old South. Ole Miss has been without an on-field mascot since 2003, when Colonel Reb was benched. With Ole Miss left as the only Southeastern Conference school without such a mascot, students pushed for a replacement.

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Filed under: Mississippi • Sports
October 14th, 2010
06:01 PM ET

Two convicted of hate crimes in immigrant's beating death

Luiz Ramirez died in July 2008 after a street brawl in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.

A federal jury in Pennsylvania has convicted two men of hate crimes in connection with the beating death of an undocumented Mexican immigrant in 2008.

Derrick M. Donchak and Brandon J. Piekarsky were each charged with a hate crime for fatally beating Luis Ramirez on a street in Shenandoah while shouting racial epithets, according to the Department of Justice.

Donchak’s head dropped as the verdict was read, and his parents wept audibly. Piekarsky's mother, Tammy, said, "We’re going to be OK. We will appeal."

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Filed under: Crime • Pennsylvania
October 14th, 2010
04:42 PM ET

Obama: I believe homosexuality isn't a choice

President Obama said Thursday that he believes homosexuality is not a choice, but the result of people being born with "a certain make-up."

His comment came during a town hall-style event - hosted by Viacom's BET, CMT and MTV networks - in which students asked him questions.

A student asked Obama if he believed homosexuality is a choice. Obama responded he was no expert, then added: "I don't think it's a choice. I think people are born with a certain make-up."

"We're all children of God," Obama said. "We don't make determinations about who we love. That's why I think discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is wrong."

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Gay and lesbian
October 14th, 2010
04:26 PM ET

Fort Hood hearing: 'All I smelled was blood'

The shooting happened so fast that is sounded like an automatic weapon, one soldier testified.

Some said they didn't realize they were wounded until they saw their own blood. And others told how they tried to play dead, hoping the gunman would pass them by.

The testimony came Thursday at Fort Hood, Texas, during the military's evidentiary hearing into the case of Maj. Nidal Hasan, who is accused of the Fort Hood shootings last November that left 13 people dead and dozens wounded.

Spc. Keara Bono testified she was reading a book in the Fort Hood building, moving through the paperwork and medical tests to deploy to Iraq. Suddenly, she said, she was wounded in the head.

"At that moment, all I smelled was blood because my face was covered with it," she testified Thursday afternoon.

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Filed under: Fort Hood shooting • Military • Terrorism • Texas
October 14th, 2010
03:37 PM ET

Online game surfaces based on Chilean mine rescue

Not even a day has passed since 33 miners were freed from a Chilean mine, and already there is an online game based on the epic rescue.

"Los 33" lets users rescue the miners one-by-one, just as in real life, by taking control of a red, white and blue metal rescue capsule bearing the Chilean flag.

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October 14th, 2010
03:33 PM ET

Justice Department seeks stay of 'don't ask' ruling

The Justice Department plans to file an appeal Thursday afternoon seeking an emergency stay of a federal judge's ruling stopping the military's policy barring openly gay men and lesbians from serving, a spokesman from the plaintiff's law firm said.

Justice Department lawyers say they want the federal court in California to grant a stay of the injunction, which would remain in effect throughout the appeals process.

The government says the stay would allow for an orderly transition to a policy allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the U.S. military.

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Filed under: Courts • Gay and lesbian • Justice • Military • U.S.
October 14th, 2010
03:30 PM ET

Judge: Challenge to health care reform can proceed

A federal judge in Florida has ruled a multistate challenge to the the sweeping congressional health care reform law can proceed.

Florida is challenging large parts of the bill signed by President Obama earlier this year, including the individual mandate that requires people to be insured, or face severe financial penalties.

The state's attorney general, Bill McCollum, who filed the constitutional challenge, applauded the judge's decision.

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Filed under: Courts • Florida • Health Care • U.S.
October 14th, 2010
03:25 PM ET

Feds: CVS to pay $77.6M in meth case

CVS Pharmacy Inc., the biggest operator of retail pharmacies in the United States, has admitted that it unlawfully sold pseudoephedrine to criminals who could use it to make methamphetamine, the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles, California, announced.

As part of the agreement, CVS has agreed to pay $75 million in civil penalties and to forfeit the $2.6 million in profits the company earned from the sales.

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Filed under: Justice • U.S.
October 14th, 2010
01:09 PM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Harry Whittington

The trial lawyer whom Dick Cheney shot on a quail-hunting trip in Texas sat down with the Washington Post to talk about the incident. Harry Whittington, 82, has fully recovered from the accident of almost five years ago, he said. More than 200 pellets struck all across his body, just missing vital organs and leading to many invasive surgeries.

For months afterward, however, pieces would still work their way out of his body, he said. About 30 pellets remain, including one near his heart and one in his voice box, causing his voice to “warble.”

Whittington was gracious in recalling Cheney’s involvement, the Post reported. It was he who initially apologized from the hospital, indicating that the accident had inconvenienced the vice president. He still feels responsible for traumatizing Cheney, he said.

At the same time, the accident caused problems for Cheney because it was not made public until the ranch owner’s daughter confirmed it the next day. A media frenzy ensued, with reporters trying to sneak into the hospital to talk to Whittington and others interrogating the White House for the PR gaffe. FULL POST

October 14th, 2010
12:21 PM ET

Witness: Fort Hood shooter shouted 'Allah akbar' before firing

FORT HOOD, Texas (CNN) -  At first Spc. Alan Carroll thought he was thrust into the middle of a training exercise, but the soldier said he soon  realized that a man was shooting real bullets at a processing center at Fort
Hood last year.

Carroll was shot four times.  He's now serving in Afghanistan, and he  spoke Thursday via video-link on the third day of the military hearing about the shootings.

"At first I thought it was some kind of training simulator," he said in the evidentiary hearing for accused shooter, Army psychologist Maj. Nidal Hasan.

Hasan is accused of killing 13 people and wounding 32 others, including Carroll.

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Filed under: Crime • Terrorism • U.S. • Uncategorized
October 14th, 2010
11:56 AM ET

Gilbert Arena's faked injury, Yao Ming, Shawne Merriman

Washington Wizards player Gilbert Arenas said he faked a knee injury.

Oh Gilbert Arenas. First that unsavory gun incident, now this? Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas recently admitted that he faked a knee injury to avoid playing in the team’s game against the Atlanta Hawks. His reason: So that fourth-year guard Nick Young could start. Wait, I think I missed the part when that was a good idea. After serving a 50-game suspension, Arenas gives up the chance to jump right back into the action to give Young a shot. Noble, isn’t it? W

hat’s even more surprising than Arenas voluntarily sidelining himself is the fact that he admitted lying to his coach. Arenas quickly turned the attention to the media’s reaction on his little fib:

“In hindsight now I would say yes. I wasn’t thinking this would be another media outburst," he said. "Everything that I do now is someone tit for tat trying to blow it out of proportion. Y’now at the end of the day Nick is happy. He got to play, got to show that he can play. And I’m out here taking all the heat again.”

That’s not the case according to SI.com’s Zach Lowe on his new blog The Point Forward. Lowe says that while he’s not quick to pass judgment on Arenas for his various public missteps, he will say that the media is far from blowing this latest incident out of proportion. When you lie to get yourself out of playing, no matter how selfless the reason may be, don’t be shocked when a few eyebrows get raised.

Agent Zero drama aside, there’s plenty of action to keep you entertained tonight:

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Filed under: Sports
October 14th, 2010
11:43 AM ET

What's next for Chile miners, Fenix, 'Super Mario' and mine?

The last rescued miner, Luis Urzua, and President Sebastian Pinera sing Chile's anthem.

The whole world watched as rescue workers pulled 33 men out of a mine near Copiapo, Chile, after they had been trapped underground for more than two months.

While all 33 men are safe above ground, the story out of Chile is far from over. From the likely legal battle stemming from the initial mine collapse to those who have emerged as key figures, plenty lies ahead.

So, you're asking, what's to become of the miners, "Super Mario," the Fenix 2 capsule and the mine itself?

Rescued miners

Life is about to change tremendously for the 33 men who spent 69 days trapped. They've gone from unknown miners to national heroes. They were lucky to walk out of the mine unharmed, but some are dealing with lingering medical issues. Many experts have said the miners will face psychological struggles similar to post-traumatic stress disorder issues that troops face after war.

The miners and their families also will deal with the glaring spotlight and myriad offers for book and movie deals. The men have reportedly made a pact to write a book jointly and share in the profits. They also likely will find themselves receiving more gifts.

So far, they've reportedly been given or will soon get: wraparound Oakley sunglasses (the ones they wore during the rescue), a trip to Greece, $10,000 each from a businessman, new iPods directly from Apple chief Steve Jobs and trips to see Manchester United and Real Madrid soccer games. Edison Pena, a die-hard Elvis Presley fan who led his fellow miners in Elvis singalongs to pass time while awaiting their rescue, has been given an all-expense paid trip to Graceland.

Then, there's the issue of the collapse. The miners are expected to speak to attorneys about a lawsuit against their employer. As to whether they will work in a mine again, some have said they are miners and that's what they'll continue to do. Some of the men's wives have different designs and are vowing to never allow them inside a mine again.

San Jose mine

There are conflicting reports on what may become of the gold and copper mine that imprisoned the 33 miners.

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October 14th, 2010
11:26 AM ET

Now a tropical storm, Paula clinging to Cuban coast

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -  Tropical Storm Paula was moving along the north coast of western Cuba on Thursday, bringing heavy rain and high winds to the island nation despite being downgraded from hurricane status, forecasters said.

As of 11 a.m., the center of Paula was about 110 miles (180 kilometers) west-southwest of the Cuban capital, Havana, the Miami, Florida-based National
Hurricane Center said. It was moving east-northeast at about 6 mph (9 kph), but was expected to turn east later Thursday.

"On this track, Paula will continue to hug the north coast of western Cuba or move inland over Cuba today," forecasters said. "Tropical storm-force winds should be spreading across western Cuba today, primarily along the north coast. Winds could begin to increase over the lower and middle Florida Keys late today."

The storm's maximum sustained winds were 70 mph (110 kph), just below hurricane status. Paula remained a small storm, with tropical storm-force winds extending 45 miles (75 kilometers) from its center.

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Filed under: Tropical weather • Uncategorized • Weather
October 14th, 2010
11:20 AM ET

Hospital may release most of Chilean miners today

COPIAPO, Chile (CNN) -  Most of the 33 recently rescued miners in Chile may be released from the hospital Thursday afternoon, a hospital official said.

Dr. Jorge Montes, assistant director of the Copiapo Hospital, said the miners generally are doing quite well. Some of the men suffered skin conditions, which was expected, given the high temperature and humidity in which they lived for the last two months.

Three miners had dental surgeries on Wednesday and are doing well, the doctor said, and another miner with an ulcer to the retina in one of  his eyes was successfully treated but the lesion may take some time to heal.
"All of them were subjected to high levels of stress.  The majority has endured it in a noteworthy manner.  Some are suffering from minor complications, but nothing to worry about," Montes said.  "They are happy after having spent a good night."

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Filed under: Chile • Chile miners trapped • World
October 14th, 2010
10:33 AM ET

On the Radar: Chile mine, O'Donnell, Afghan killings

Next steps for Chile – After 69 days underground and a rescue mission costing up to $20 million, 33 miners have finally been extracted from the bowels of the Earth. To roaring applause, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera placed a metal cap on top of the rescue hole early Thursday and marked the end of a rescue operation that captivated the world.

But in a way, the story is just beginning for the miners, who must live with their new status as folk heroes and the spotlight that comes with it, the country and the government, whose attention turns to protecting workers' safety. CNN will be taking a look at what's next for each of these key players.

O'Donnell and the Delaware debate – Wednesday's highly anticipated showdown between two candidates considered surprise contenders for Delaware's U.S. Senate seat featured Christine O'Donnell displaying the conservative credentials that gained her Tea Party backing while Chris Coons, put on the defensive at times, generally backed Democratic policies favored by President Obama.

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October 14th, 2010
07:28 AM ET

Thursday's live video events

9:15 am ET - Kentucky Senate debate – Senate candidates Rand Paul and Jack Conway debate the issues in Paducah, Kentucky.

1:00 pm ET - Tillman bridge dedication – Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood dedicates the Mike O’Callaghan/Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge at the Hoover Dam Bypass in Nevada.  The bridge is among the tallest in North America.

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Filed under: On CNN.com today
October 14th, 2010
06:51 AM ET

Last miner out hailed as shift boss who kept group alive

After the Chilean mine collapsed on August 5, shift boss Luis Urzua divided the lone cans of tuna in the dark cave among the men to keep them alive.

Without food, light or contact with the outside world for days, the shift boss organized the 32 others into three work shifts. He kept them busy, and he helped keep them alive. He led the group that was forced into living in continual darkness and kept their spirits and solidarity in tact as they faced living in a cramped area with high humidity and hot temperatures.

And it was Urzua, 54, who first established contact with the outside world on August 22, 17 days after the mine collapsed, trapping him and his men. On that day, before even asking for help or about a rescue, he wanted to know the fate of the other men who had left the mine right before its collapse. He was thrilled and cheered on the phone that day.

But two days later he shared the anxieties of the state of the trapped miners.

"Under a sea of rock, we are waiting for the whole of Chile to pull hard so that we can be taken out of this hell," he told Chilean President Sebastian Pinera during their first phone call on August 24.

Inside the underground cavern,  Urzua, who has worked in mining 31 years, pored over diagrams of the mine, working with rescuers to construct a plan for the escape.

And so it was fitting that he would be the one who offered to be the last man out. Only after all the other men were each lifted to safety one by one would Urzua leave the mine.

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